President Munson on Athletics

>>President Munson is a big sports fan, who understands what athletics mean to a college community.>>I think athletics are important for a couple of reasons. Number one: we want to attract the best students to our campus, and that includes students who want to be involved in athletics, but also of course athletics creates a strong spirit among the student body and alumni, and that really adds to the vibrancy of our campus.>>When you look at RIT athletically, what comes to mind? What do you see at first glance?>>What I see is serious students, who are also good athletes, and I like that and certainly has been brought to my attention that the average GPA for our student athletes is higher than the campus average, and that’s quite a statistic.>>The athletic department has enjoyed tremendous growth and success over the past decade, prompting Dr. Munson to ask an interesting question to the campus in August.>>What about athletics? As you heard earlier the program is doing really well, but what if we built a program that was perennially ranked among the very top in the nation in Division three year after year? Would that further enliven our campus? Would it help us attract even better student athletes? We have a lot of those already, would the investment be worth it? That’s a question I’m asking around campus and trying to prompt us to think about this because it may be that if we offer some modest improvements in our facilities, and there are a lot of different things that have been talked about we may attract even better student athletes, and we may create an even more vibrant campus, and so that perhaps will be very worthwhile.>>Fundraising will be a major focus during Dr. Munson’s tenure. He’s open to adding more endowed coaching positions, and a new outdoor stadium for soccer and lacrosse has been discussed. But what about Division one across the board?>>Some people that are asking about the possibility of moving to Division one at some point. I don’t think that’s totally off the table, but that that’s nowhere near the top of my agenda, and so if that were to occur I think that would be a long time from now. Going to Division one across the board it certainly would be costly and sort of all-consuming if you will. The easiest way to make a go of it is if you can have a really outstanding football team in one of the top conferences because then that becomes the revenue sport that can literally pay for the entire program, and so at Michigan, the athletic program does not receive any support from the parent university. But of course that’s not the story at most universities in the US, and so we’ve got to be a little bit cautious about this.>>I know it might be hard to think about it at this point just four months into your tenure here, but where do you see the athletic program here at RIT maybe five ten years down the road?>>My dream would be that the sort of thing that I’ve kind of posited out there There is this mythical sort of national championship at each division level in the NCAA. I would like to see us place regularly in the top five if we thought that were possible, and so we’ll be looking at that and trying to assess what sorts of resources might be needed to make that happen, and then to make a determination as to whether quote “it would be worth it.”

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